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Incumbent congressmen face challenges

ELECTION CENTRAL

Visit our special election section for complete coverage of the 2012 primaries, HERE.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Thanks to redistricting earlier this year, many Gwinnett residents will shift to a new congressional district in January.

But due to this year's ballots, all of the county's residents could be introduced to a new congressman by then.

All three incumbents face challenges in the upcoming July 31 primary, and one contest will linger until November.

Here is a look at the Congressional races in Gwinnett.

District 4

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, whose DeKalb-based district includes portions of Lilburn and Norcross, not only has to worry about a battle to keep the Democratic nomination. But two Republicans have also squared off to try for his seat.

The attorney wants to continue his work focusing on creating jobs in the strained economy.

"Looking out for middle class and working families, speaking up for the hard-working Americans: that's what drives everything I do as a congressman from legislation I propose -- The Help Entrepreneurs Act, Arbitration Fairness Act and the Fair Employment Act -- to legislation I support -- the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act," Johnson said. "I work for constituents and policies that rebuild the middle class. I'm not in Washington to represent corporations."

But Courtney Dillard Sr. and Lincoln Nunnally, both businessmen, say they are better suited to the role.

"I believe that supporting small businesses is the key to creating good jobs and a vibrant community," Dillard, the former Rockdale Democrat Party leader said. "Justice, fairness and faith are important themes for growth and the development of our society. These American values are important to me. I will represent all the people in our district.

Nunally says his young age of 32 helps in his quest to help the "invisible poor."

"I experienced the problems and struggles average people deal with and can personally relate to how legislation will help or hurt our average citizens," he said.

Republicans Chris Vaughn and Greg Pallen disagree with Johnson's political philosophy. The winner in their GOP primary will go on to the November contest.

"Government is best when it is smallest and closest to the people," Vaughn, a preacher, said. "The federal government is taking too strong of a role in the daily lives of individuals and businesses. I will work to see the excessive taxes, regulations and spending reduced and taken off the backs of the middle class and businesses."

Pallen said he wants to stop wasteful spending, beginning with his first day in office by tackling congressional pay and benefits.

"My personal belief is that the pastors should stick to their pulpits, the lawyers to their litigation and let proven leaders solve our problems in Washington," he said.

District 7

Just two years ago, Rob Woodall beat out a long slate of Republicans hoping to replace long-time U.S. Rep. John Linder in Georgia's 7th District.

But one vote during that first term inspired Suwanee man David Hancock to test Woodall's mettle again, challenging him on the GOP ballot.

"Congress should not be ruled by politicians but be run by citizens who serve for a few years and then return to their community," said Hancock, who was angered by Woodall's vote to allow the raising of the debt ceiling. "We are borrowing 43 cents of every dollar that we spend. We must stop spending more money than we take in, and not over the next 20 years. We need to do it immediately. Republican compromises have resulted in $2 trillion additional debt since the 2012 election."

He hasn't raised any campaign funds and promises he won't even talk to a lobbyist unless they live or work in the district.

Woodall, who worked as Linder's chief of staff prior to taking office, said he still carries as his No. 1 priority the FairTax, the proposal to abolish the federal income tax with a sales tax.

The Lawrenceville man also takes great pride in working with individuals who need help with issues like Social Security.

"My commitment from day one has been to never work for the next election but rather to work to earn the votes that I received in the last election. Good policy -- not good politics -- drives my decisions," he said. "Of all the things that folks may say about me and my office, they will never say that this is 'politics as usual.'"

The primary winner will face Democrat Steve Reilly in November for the two-year term.

District 10

Paul Broun has been a member of Congress since 2007, but the doctor's district has never stretched as far west as Gwinnett.

He's trying to introduce new constituents to his conservative philosophy, his work to reduce spending and his health care bill he wants to implement in place of the controversial ObamaCare plan. All the while, the Athens man is trying to stave off a GOP challenge by Stephen Simpson.

"Sometimes I receive criticism and pay a political price because of my votes, but I am consistently true to the Constitution and conservative principles," Broun said, explaining that every piece of legislation goes through his four-way test asking if it is morally correct, constitutional, necessary and affordable.

Simpson, a retired Army officer from Milledgeville, wants a shot at cutting government spending and reducing regulations that hamper businesses.

"Like so many Americans, I am frustrated -- if not downright angry -- with the bickering and blaming in Washington where nothing gets accomplished," Simpson said "Common sense and the ability to fight for the people you are supposed to represent are left behind in this environment. We need leaders in Washington that will work for us, not for them."

With no Democrat seeking the office, the primary winner will win the two-year term.

Candidate Bios and Q&As

District 4

Courtney L. Dillard

• Party: Democrat

• Age: 49

• Education: BA in Religion from Luther Rice University; MBA Candidate at Liberty University

• Occupation: Real Estate Developer / Small Business Owner (family-owned business)

• Political Experience: Rockdale County Democratic Party Leader

• Family: Wife Dr. Gayla Dillard MD; Children Erica, 32, Amber, 28, Courtney Jr., 21, Jordan, 17, Murad, 16; two grandchildren

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

I am a second-generation entrepreneur. I believe that supporting small businesses is the key to creating good jobs and a vibrant community. Justice, Fairness and Faith are important themes for growth and the development of our society. These American values are important to me. I will represent all the people in our district.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle?

You must learn to listen first before you can lead; which is why I began my campaign with a “Listening Tour” of the 4th District. During my visits to Newton, Rockdale, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties I discovered that Mortgage and Foreclosure fraud are the No. 1 issues affecting our community, and will be my No. 1 priority.

What sets you apart from your competitors?

1) I believe in American Judeo-Christian values. I honor “In GOD we trust” as our nation’s motto. 2) I will fight for Justice and Fairness for the victims of Mortgage and Foreclosure Fraud. 3) I will oppose the T-SPLOST until governance and public policy mandates dictate the fair and equal treatment of MBE, WBE, SBEs (Minority-Business Enterprises, Women-Business Enterprises and Small-Business Enterprises.)

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Hank Johnson

Henry “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (i)

• Party: Democrat

• Age: 57

• Education: Law Degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University, 1979; Undergraduate degree from Clark College, 1976 |

• Occupation: Congressman (Attorney)

• Political Experience: Congressman, Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District, 2007-present; DeKalb County Commissioner, Fifth District, 2001-2006; DeKalb County Magistrate Court Judge, 1989-2000.

• Family: Wife Mereda Davis Johnson; two adult children, Randi and Alex.

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

Looking out for middle class and working families, speaking up for the hard-working Americans. That’s what drives everything I do as a Congressman from legislation I propose — The Help Entrepreneurs Act, Arbitration Fairness Act and the Fair Employment Act — to legislation I support — the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — I work for constituents and policies that rebuild the middle class. I’m not in Washington to represent corporations.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

Jobs and the economy: We must invest in our infrastructure, education and clean energy sectors to help grow the economy and create jobs.

What sets you apart from your competitors?

My experience and record of results.

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Lincoln Nunnally

Lincoln Nunnally

• Party: Democrat

• Age: 32

• Education: Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University

• Occupation: Business Consultant

• Political Experience: None

• Family: Wife Rebekah; 17-month-old son

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

Serve the People.

Each decision should be made with the end goal in mind of serving the benefit of constituents by helping them support their family and improving their lives.

If a proposed action will help people support their family and improve their lives we should support the action.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

My main goal is to help the “Invisible Poor.” People earning $30,000 per year are living on a poverty level of income because almost 50 percent of their paycheck goes to paying taxes. We need to implement a Consumption tax to reduce the burden on our low income earners.

What sets you apart from your competitors?

As the youngest person running for U.S. Congress I can relate to average people in a way the other two candidates cannot. I experienced the problems and struggles average people deal with and can personally relate to how legislation will help or hurt our average citizens.

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Greg Pallen

Greg Pallen

• Party: Republican

• Age: 43

• Education: Bachelor of Business Administration from University of Georgia, 1990

• Occupation: President of Pallen Enterprises, Incorporated

• Political Experience: None

• Family: Single

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

First and foremost, I am a conservative. I believe in fiscal conservatism and it will drive me to find ways to balance the budget. Wasteful spending must be stopped and I will address this issue on my first day in office, starting with Congressional pay and benefits.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

Balancing the budget and getting wasteful spending under control.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

I have 26 years of business experience pinching pennies and balancing budgets. I built an extremely successful business by working hard and working smart. My personal belief is that the pastors should stick to their pulpits, the lawyers to their litigation and let proven leaders solve our problems in Washington.

J. Chris Vaughn

• Party: Republican

• Age: 46

• Occupation: Senior Pastor at Grace Summit Church

• Political Experience: Secretary/Treasurer of Meadowbrook HOA

• Family: Wife Lisa; Children Sarah Beth, 21, Molly, 18, and Luke, 13

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

Government is best when it is smallest and closest to the people. The federal government is taking to strong of a role in the daily lives of individuals and businesses. I will work to see the excessive taxes, regulations, and spending reduced and taken off the backs of the middle class and businesses.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

Working to see our economy turn around and jobs created. Congress needs to work to see long term tax reform so that stability can come to the economic markets, and business; along with long term debt reduction to secure our nations financial future.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

Having lived in the 4th District going on 11 years now, I understand the hardships facing the families of Rockdale, DeKalb, Newton, and Newton. As a person who has been involved in church and faith based communities for 25+ years, I’m committed to helping people at the point of their need, and working for solutions.

District 7

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David Hancock

David Hancock

• Party: Republican

• Age: 51

• Education: Computer Engineering Degree from Auburn University

• Occupation: Chief Operating Officer of ACP

• Political Experience: Planning and Zoning Commissioner for the city of Suwanee; District Manager for the Gwinnett Republican Party

• Family: Wife Darlene; Children Ann, 21, Michael, 19

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

The Constitution was designed to limit government and must govern every decision. The federal government has grown far beyond the limited powers defined by the founders. Congress should not be ruled by politicians but be run by citizens who serve for a few years and then return to their community.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

We are borrowing 43 cents of every dollar that we spend. We must stop spending more money than we take in, and not over the next 20 years. We need to do it immediately. Republican compromises have resulted in $2 trillion additional debt since the 2012 election.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

I am not raising any money and will spend no time campaigning for reelection. I will not accept a federal pension and will not serve more than two terms. I will not vote to raise the debt limit or to increase spending. I have worked in Georgia for 30 years.

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Rep. Rob Woodall, Republican congressman from Georgia's 7th District

Rob Woodall (i)

• Party: Republican

• Age: 42

• Education: J.D. from University of Georgia

• Occupation: 7th District Member of Congress

• Political Experience: Member of Congress

• Family: single

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

I believe that the closer to home decisions are made about how Americans are governed, the better those decisions will be. In Washington, I prioritize reducing the size and scope of the federal government and returning that control to state and local governments, and to the people. In Georgia, I focus on serving individual 7th district families with their federal government needs, making the world better one family at the time. Too many members of Congress believe that their world revolves around Washington; I am certain that my energy and service is centered right here at home

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

The FairTax remains my first priority. It is the single most powerful bill in Congress today. It will transform this nation’s economy and put us back on a track to prosperity, and it will return more freedom and control back to the American people.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

My commitment from day one has been to never work for the next election but rather to work to earn the votes that I received in the last election. Good policy — not good politics — drives my decisions. I also have a special commitment to serving the people in this district. I know that with individual casework I can make a big difference one family at the time. This family-focused service not only solves problems here at home; it ensures that I remain connected and involved when making voting decisions in Washington, DC. Of all the things that folks may say about me and my office, they will never say that this is “politics as usual.”

District 10

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Paul Broun

Paul Broun (i)

• Party: Republican

• Age: 66

• Education: Graduate of UGA and Medical College of Georgia

• Occupation: Medical Doctor. Former Marine now serving as Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves.

• Political Experience: Member of U.S. House of Representatives since 2007

• Family: Wife Niki; three adult children; two grandchildren.

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

I am a constitutional conservative. I submit all legislation to a Four Way Test: 1. Is it morally correct? 2. Is it constitutional? 3. Is it necessary? 4. Is it affordable? If the answer to each of these isn’t “yes,” then I do not support the bill. Sometimes I receive criticism and pay a political price because of my votes, but I am consistently true to the Constitution and conservative principles.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

Repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with my Patient OPTION Act (H.R. 4224). Reducing taxes and job-restricting regulations on small businesses so that our private sector economy can grow; my JOBS Act will do just that. Significantly reducing the outrageous spending in Washington and the deficits that are absolutely bankrupting America.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

This session of Congress I offered the most measures to reduce outrageous federal spending. Leading conservative groups have honored my work:

National Taxpayers Union — “Taxpayers’ Friend ”

Citizens Against Government Waste — “Taxpayer Super Hero ”

Americans for Tax Reform — “Hero of the Taxpayer”

Endorsed by NRA.

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Stephen Simpson

Stephen Simpson

• Party: Republican

• Age: 61

• Education: MBA in Finance from Mercer University; MS in Systems Management from University of Southern California; BBA in Management from Georgia College and State University; Georgia Military College Prep School

• Occupation: Retired Army Officer, Small Business Owner

• Political Experience: Gubernatorial appointee to Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice and Georgia Music Hall of Fame

• Family: Wife Susan; Sons Stephen Jr. and Scott; one grandchild

What is your political philosophy and how will it drive your role in office?

My 20-year military career, being a business owner making payroll, and my extensive community involvement have kept me in touch with the real issues facing the 10th district. Farmers have seen out-of-control regulators make their jobs increasingly difficult, and community banks have seen draconian regulations — such as Dodd-Frank — make it much more difficult, if not impossible, to make loans to qualified businesses. I’m a proven leader and not a politician. I will work diligently to support the needs of our constituents by being accessible and accountable to the voters.

Name your top goal or issue you want to tackle.

The biggest single issue facing all Americans is our continued deficit spending and mounting national debt now approaching $16 Trillion dollars. In the banking business we have “Truth in Lending.” When our politicians talk to the voters we should have. “Truth in Politics.” We will never see sustained economic growth until we (1.) Have a balanced budget, (2.) Have fundamental Tax Reform that encourages business development without penalizing those who success and (3.) Begin paying down our national debt, and that will require reforming our entitlements system. It’s going to be painful, but the longer we wait the greater the probability the US will become another Greece.

What sets you apart from your competitor?

I believe that I have the ability to bring about positive change that will benefit Americans because of my experience working in the Pentagon, dealing with Congress, as small business owner, and getting substantial results. Like so many Americans, I am frustrated — if not downright angry — with the bickering and blaming in Washington where nothing gets accomplished. Common sense and the ability to fight for the people you are supposed to represent are left behind in this environment. We need leaders in Washington that will work for us, not for them.

Comments

rco1847 1 year, 9 months ago

VOTE NO ON SPLOST - VOTE NO ON THE TAX AND SPEND REPUBLICANS

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NewsReader 1 year, 9 months ago

Absolutely! Vote YES to Hank "Guam will tip over" Johnson! LOL!

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Gundoctor1 1 year, 9 months ago

In my opinion we should never vote for another incumbent. Never!! I will not do this again. Great idea. I think so, but just bring it up seriously, and people will fuss and moan Oh you can't do that, he or she is doing such a fine job. Really???? Exactly how did they get in this fine job?? They did so by promising you whatever they could just to get your vote, and somewhere along the line an incumbent was thrown out of office, or died, or was sent to jail so they could get this job. Isn't it time for wholesale change?? I think so. Every 8 years works for president. Why should these others be allowed more?? We already have term limits on every one of them. They just happened to be called elections.

Get rid of them all and start over. Tell the newly elected ones this term is your "trial period", if you mess up, then you are out just like your predecessor. Might take a few election cycles, but soon they will get the message. How much worse could we be with a brand new slate of these people that feed off of our tax dollars?????

I sent this thought to my state and national legislators. Every one of them. I got one reply. ONE!!!! This man said he thought it was a great idea. I was shocked. Then I found out he is not running for re-election. ha ha ha.

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jack 1 year, 9 months ago

I'll be voting against any incumbent.....except mine, of course.

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Sandykin 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm ready for this election to be over. I'm sick of the robo calls morning till night.

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Mack711 1 year, 8 months ago

Yes I got one on my cell phone from one of the candidates. They just lost my voet for calling my cell phone.....and I lost minutes on my account.

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kevin 1 year, 8 months ago

got to stop re-electing the same old forts. Johnson can't eve carry on a conversation with anyone. Look at him on Epan sometime. You will quickly become to feel like a fool voting for this person. HE has had enough time in Washington. He is part of the problems there. Voters need to take responsibility for our horrible Congrees since you all re-elect this guy. New blood is badly needed.

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kevin 1 year, 8 months ago

Woodall was one of the only people that would not put his name on a bill (sponser) to stop forcing Catholics agencies from having to include abortion coverage in their health plans. No Catholic should vote for this guy. HE was too scared to associate himself with that bill. Most of the other GOP did sign it.

This is fact.

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